Introduction to Organismal/Evolutionary Biology

Feb 2020

I'm gonna start this review by saying Paul is a good guy. He's nice, he tries to keep the material interesting, and seriously is invested in what he's teaching. The lectures are by no means miserable to sit through because of this, however, he does not take attendance and its at 9am 3 times a week, so I found myself skipping a lot. Try not to do this. He knows kids do this and will put a good 4-6 questions on each exam, sometimes more, on stuff he only says in lecture and it can be hard to miss, but if you are invested, it will be obvious to you on the exam. I found the workload to be a little much, he covers 2/3 of the textbook (that comes directly from his mouth) so its an insane amount of reading, but if you spend about an hour or more a day you should be fine-- again, I found it hard to do this and ended up cramming the textbook reading onto weekends, which is quite miserable. The material itself is not hard, its extremely simple plant botany, evolution, Darwin-based stuff that I'm sure you've heard of before in any environmental science/ecology/biology class. It's just A LOT, and because he knows the information isn't incredibly challenging, he will nitpick from the textbook and make the questions on his exams pretty difficult. Definitely pay attention to the little things, even though that can be difficult with the amount of chapters each exam covers. Do well on the mindtaps and that should definitely help, as it counts for 25%. The exams can be rough but he curves really well, it changes based on how people do but don't worry if you get 20 questions wrong out of 50, its usually still a decent grade. Overall, its a lot of work and definitely time-consuming, but the work itself isn't miserable to do and its a solid class. My main points would be to try to go to lecture and spend a little time everyday on the textbook, it will make it way less overwhelming.

Nov 2018

Professor Hertz is an incredibly knowledgeable guy and I love his love of Anolis lizards. His lectures can get a bit monotonous at times if you aren't self-motivated to pay attention, but he does try to throw in a corny joke every once in a while to get a chuckle from his students. If you've got a strong background in bio, you basically don't have to go to the lectures since he really just goes over what is written in the textbook, but I try to always go just to make sure I've got the main ideas in my head when reading. This class will be a breeze for you if you're great at memorizing and have a good background in bio, but it's a lot of textbook studying. It's really all about the hours you put in. If you spend more time doing the work, you'll do better on the tests. Definitely a tough but manageable class.

Aug 2018

as a successful medical student in a highly ranked US MD school i want to come back to address the stupidy regarding rumors about this class. 1: Not a single admissions comittee member of any medical school cares who you take intro bio with (they do care about your gpa though), 2: It will not prepare you for the MCAT as much as having more free time for practice questions will. 3: It will have no bearing on your clinical performance, to say otherwise is a complete joke and shows no knowledge of what medical training actually entails . 4: you'll have much harder classes in med school, if you need an academic challenge don't worry you have plenty ahead of you. After struggles in Gen Chem I tried taking this course but found the exams to be unreasonably difficult for intro biology. I switched out of this class to Barnard and loved it. We learned anatomy as well which was helpful for the mcat and year 1 of medical school. She is a great teacher and lecturer that's true, but Its really only one class. Make your focus to get into med school first and try to enjoy your undergrad years.

Dec 2016

Intro to Organismal and Evolutionary Biology is definitely not the class for you if you don't read textbooks. There is a lot of information you are expected to know for each test, but all of it is in the book. I attend his lectures just to get an overview of what I will be reading about so I have a little something to guide my reading, but the lectures are completely unnecessary if you do the reading, as everything he says in class is directly from the book (he wrote the book). The material is super neat though, and it is pretty well organized. Overall a great survey class that isn't too intense as long as you read and make quizlets/flashcards/study guides for all the chapters so you can cram the night before the test. It is especially great that there is no cumulative final anymore, just three unit tests.

Nov 2014

I see that no one has reviewed Professor Hertz in a while and I think he deserves a good review. I am 99% sure I am a Biology major. In high school, I had very bad experiences with science teachers... So we can say that my preparation was not the best, although you are expected to have a solid background to succeed in the 1500 level course. My not-so-good preparation has been just enough. Professor Hertz is great. He KNOWS what he is talking about (he is one of the authors of the textbook). He makes his lectures easy to follow by providing us pre-made (by HIM) outlines and we only have to fill them in. He tells you exactly what chapters (and sometimes even what certain pages in that chapter) you need to read to be prepared for that lecture and consequently, to be prepared for the exam. He does question periods like 2 weeks before the exams. He is very open to questions from students during this period but not during lecture because lectures are HUGE. ... So his lectures are great. They can become boring at the end of the semester because it is the same style of teaching all semester long. But whatever! Everything he says helps your understanding of the material. Besides, exams are mostly based on lectures and less based on the textbook. The most annoying part is the weekly online homeworks. They are so long and you actually need to read the textbook to answer the questions in the Aplia portal. I hate doing this, but it will certainly help your grade at the end if you do them NOT-carelessly. Besides this, you have the option of doing online quizzes posted on Courseworks for bonus points. He says it doesn't matter what your score is. You just do the *optional* quizzes and you get bonus points at the end. No one really knows how much these bonus points help you... Bust JUST DO IT. All in all, Professor Hertz is very smart!!! I'm not saying I will be a Bio major because of him. That would be a lie. But I will say that he does make the course a liiiiittle more easy going than it would otherwise be. Bio will always be tough... Especially the 1500 level, so don't expect to be completely prepared for what is to come in this intro course.

Nov 2014

Can't say I was a huge fan of professor Hertz, but he is alright! His lectures are hit or miss. Sometimes they are very interesting while other times you really could have just stayed in your dorm and done the book work. This class does require that you keep up with the reading. It is very important that you stay on top of the reading!Professor Hertz does not allow you to ask questions during class because there is not enough time. SI sessions are offered with this course though if you have questions. I never went to an SI sessions so I am not sure if they are helpful. Overall, I felt Hertz was kinda mediocre. that is just honest opinion. He's not bad, but not excellent either. He is clearly a very intelligent man and even wrote the textbook for the course, but I don't think he's the best lecturer.

Nov 2014

The first day I walked into bio lab I thought this semester was going to be HELL in lab, but I really ended up liking Wanda. The first day she came off as a total bitch and I was scared to say the least. However labs 2-9 she was nothing but wonderful. She is a very knowledgeable woman and very intelligent and she explains things VERY WELL! (far better than my lecturer professor Hertz). I don't know why she seemed rude the first lab, but she was never that way the rest of the time. She smiled and made jokes proving that she is not a stuck up bitch as the semester went on. Her grading on assignments was very fair. I only got a B on each lab report but I don't think that is terrible.Her corrections made perfect sense and the points I got off were definitely my own fault.Unlike other lab professors, Wanda very clearly describes what she wants EXACTLY in her lab reports (i'm talking she tells you exactly what words to use in each sentence for each section). Each time we had a lab report due she would spend an hour going over what we needed to do on the lab report.This made the lab reports a no brainer. I would actually highly recommend Knauss. I learned way more from her than my friends who have other lab professors. I'm not sure why she has such scathing reviews from the past, but I am here to tell you that you do not need to worry. Trust me I was terrified the first day but I felt very comfortable from then on and I think it is easy to ask her questions and she is always very helpful.

Dec 2013

John is a very enthusiastic lecturer and wants his students to do their best. That being said, if you have taken AP Bio in high school this course will be painfully easy. Although I often tried to get myself out of bed for the 9 am lectures, I found as the semester went on that it really did not add anything to my learning and stopped attending. He very rarely adds on any extra information to the powerpoint slides that he puts online. If you have even a slight grasp of bio you will do well in the class, as long as you look at the lecture powerpoints and the parts of the textbook he mentions before the exam. Much of the questions on the exams are less about application of concepts and more memorization of random facts, which is a little annoying, but again, the examples can all be found in the powerpoint slides. Also there is a curve set by the students in the class, which is quite generous.

Dec 2013

Overall, I would say that he was a pretty good professor. He made himself available through help sessions and office hours and made an effort to be as clear as possible which was met with varying levels of success. I found it funny when he would apologize for tricky concepts saying that he didn't make this stuff up. My biggest peeve was that he tended to read from the slides though he got better as the semester went on. The exams are all multiple choice. The first exam included material from the book, but then he changed it so that the 2nd exam and the final were based on lectures only with textbook information limited to the boxes with additional information about research and applications of the material into the real world. The final ended up being non-cumulative which was a godsend, just 60 multiple choice. He emailed us the same evening with our grades which I liked. I found the course to be relatively low maintenance. You pretty much need to keep up with the Aplia online quizzes (one for each lecture/topic that is due about 4 days after it is taught) and study for exams. That being said however, this course definitely teaches you a lot about memorization so be prepared for that.

Dec 2008

I would definitely suggest this class, it is pretty good for a survey course. The lectures are packed with information, and there is a lot to know for exams, but the course is organized and there is nothing unexpected. Hertz knows what he teaches. I would suggest going to as many lectures as you can, because even though the tests do cover a great deal of info from the textbooks, lecture material does end up on exams, and especially on the final. The tests ask very detailed questions, so study the textbook closely. The only way to do well on the final is to have lecture notes. The review material on the final comes ONLY from lecture, and the questions are pretty detailed. If you follow Hertz's directions closely, attend lecture and take good notes, and read the textbook, you will do fine in the class.